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29
Feb

CSM Charles Ross U.S. Army (Ret) (1947-1970)

rossView the service Reflections of US Army Soldier:

CSM Charles Ross

U.S. Army (Ret)

(1947-1970)

Shadow Box: http://army.togetherweserved.com/bio/Ross

PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE ARMY?

It was my desire for travel and adventure that influenced me. That was in 1947, a couple of years following the end of World War 2.

WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK.

I went through basic training in Ft McClellan AL then a three year overseas tour in Germany with the 1st Infantry Division. I was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment/K Company. Orders then came down for an assignment with 3rd Infantry Division in Ft Devens, MA. I was there for only four weeks and then off to the 3rd Battalion 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Soon after I arrived the Korean War broke out.

The war began when the North Korean People’s Army (KPA) crossed the 38th Parallel (border separating the North and South Koreas) at dawn on Sunday, June 25, 1950 with a combined arms force including tanks supported by heavy artillery. The KPA easily ran over the South Koreans who did not have any tanks, anti-tank weapons or heavy artillery to stop the surprise attack. The battered South Korean army and their U.S. military advisers quickly were pushed into the Pusan Perimeter, a 140-mile defensive line on the southeastern most tip of the Korean Peninsula. To prevent any further defeat, United Nations Forces were rushed into the war.

The 1st Cavalry Division was shipped to South Korea in July 1950 and immediately thrown into the Battle of Pusan Perimeter. That lasted nearly three month and by October 1950, U.N. Forces had successfully broken out of the Pusan Perimeter and began an aggressive northward advance in pursuit what was left of the now defeated army of North Korea. We moved rapidly north to a place near Unsan, set up defensive positions in the mountain and awaited further orders.

On November 2, 1950 our regiment was overrun by the Chinese Army who had just secretly entered the war. Those of us who were still alive withdrew and after a week of escape and evasion I was captured and remained a Prisoner of War for three years until September 1953.

From 1953-1955, I was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment (Airborne)/ A Company, 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Jackson, SC.
1955-1958, I was a First Sgt. in the 3rd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division in Schofield Barracks Hawaii.

1958-1964, First Sgt. at the Engineer School, Fort Leonard Wood/5th Battalion, 4th Training Brigade (AIT) and then the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment/C Company, stationed at Camp Carlson South Korea until 1965.

My next assignment was for three years at the Armor School/USATCA Special Training Regiment, Ft. Knox, Kentucky when, in 1968, I received orders for Vietnam, ending up in the G-3 office at the 4th Infantry Division in Pleiku. I spend the last of my Vietnam tour in the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division as the Sgt. Major.

My final assignment was the Armor Training Center (USAARMC)/ 6th Recon Squadron, 2nd School Brigade (AIT) where I served as the Command Sgt. Major. I retired in 1971.

IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN COMBAT, PEACEKEEPING OR HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.

The most significant combat event for me would be in November 1950 when our battalion was attacked by an overwhelming number of Chinese soldiers at night on November 1, 1950. We were able to fight them off for almost three days and nights and as we began to run out of food, water and ammo we were informed that help from other units could not reach us and we would have to fend for ourselves. Those of us that could still walk attempted to escape the perimeter. Most, if not all, were killed, captured or perished in the mountains in the following days.

OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?

My favorite one was Fort Knox, Kentucky because that’s where I was stationed when I met my wife.

FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?

Surviving the 34 months I was a prisoner of war in North Korea.

On November 1, 1950 my unit, 8th Cavalry Regiment, occupied defensive positions on the high ground south of Unsan when thousands of Communist Chinese Forces attacked our 1st and 2nd Battalion and South Korean units with three-prong assault from the north, northwest, and west. It wasn’t until the early morning of November 2 that our 3rd Battalion with hit with the same “human wave” assaults of bugle-blowing Chinese. For about half an hour, we were fighting hand-to-hand combat before the enemy broke contact and retreated.We had been told elements of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 5th Cavalry Regiment and 7th Cavalry Regiment were on their way to help our isolated battalion but when they were driven back. With daylight fading, the relief effort was broken off and we were ordered to get out of the trap any way we could. Breaking into small elements we moved out overland under cover of darkness. Most did not make it (according to official records of a total strength of 800, the 8th Cavalry Regiment lost 600, either killed or missing).After evading the enemy for about six days, I and another member of my squad were captured by Chinese soldiers on November 10, 1950. We were marched north each night for several nights until we reached an unnamed valley. We were then put into a house and kept there until January 1951 and then moved to Camp 5 at Pyucktong where we joined several more prisoners. I have lots of bad memories of that place: Men began to die in large numbers shortly after we arrived. Deaths were almost daily for the next several months. After the weather warmed and food rations were improved the deaths began to taper off but did not stop completely. Men were still dying from disease, malnutrition, untreated wounds and the unsanitary conditions we lived in. We were crowded into small rooms, slept on the clay floors and had no means of bathing or laundering our clothing which were the summer uniforms that we were wearing at the time of our capture. Body lice were rampant and we had neither toilet facilities nor paper products to keep ourselves clean.

Things began to improve a bit in the spring and that’s when the Chinese “Instructors” or “Comrades,” as we had be forced to call them, began the daily “brainwashing” lectures that lasted until August 1952 at which time I, along with all the other NCO’s, was moved to Camp 4 at Wiwon. The lectures were political in nature and would praise the virtues of Communism and condemn Capitalism.

I don’t recall any prisoner deaths after moving to Camp 4. Lectures there were less frequent and the content seemed to have changed to “enlighten” us as to how China was always trying to promote world peace and the U.S. was always starting wars. Most of us recognized it as rubbish and tolerated it as best we could. On August 20, 1953 we were informed that an armistice had been agreed to and that we would be repatriated shortly. I was returned to US Army control on September 1, 1953.

I would have to say that it was not a pleasant experience but given the fact that I had enlisted voluntarily and that we were at war I accepted my fate and made the best of it.

IF YOU RECEIVED ANY MEDALS FOR VALOR OR AWARDS FOR SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT, PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THESE WERE EARNED.

Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in Vietnam, two Army Commendation Medals for Meritorious Service at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. and one at Fort Knox, KY.

OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, QUALIFICATION BADGES OR DEVICE YOU RECEIVED, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE ONE(S) MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?

Combat Infantry Badge 2nd award. I think it shows that you’ve been in one of the Army’s most dangerous and difficult jobs.

WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?

T/Sgt. Harvey Brown. He helped me as a young soldier to break away from the “Crowd” and encouraged me take leadership courses that helped up my ranks and eventually a decision to make the Army my career.

M/Sgt. William Hamilton. Helped me to learn and understand the complexities of being a First Sergeant.

CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?

As a young sergeant, I was assigned as color bearer for the National Colors at a congressional welcoming ceremony while I was stationed in Germany. As we marched to the parade ground we had to go up a very steep bank and the grass was wet. My foot slipped and I fell to one knee and as a result I ripped my trousers. After a rapid recovery we continued to our designated place on the field. The Regimental Commander looked at me and then told me that I should be ashamed for wearing a damaged uniform while bearing the Colors. Not very funny at the time but when he found out what had happened we laughed about it and he apologized.

WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?

First: Retail sales in a family owned furniture store for 14 years.

Second: Owned and operated a cattle farm for 24 years.

Now: Part time work in a local funeral home and enjoying life and the grandkids.

WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?

DAV Chapter 20, Glasgow, Kentucky.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER?

It has helped me to understand the importance of discipline, as well as keeping everything in my life organized and to obey the rules of law.

BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE ARMY?

If you decide to make the Army your career, I would advise you to separate yourself from the “Crowd” and be careful of whom you choose to be your friends, educate yourself at every opportunity. Always do your best and show enthusiasm when given a task.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.

It has brought to mind many years of memories that I probably would not have had if I had not found this site.

5
Feb

The Muslim Princess Spy

Noor Inayat Khan was born New Year’s Day 1914 in Moscow to Hazrat Inayat Khan an Indian Sufi mystic of royal lineage and his American wife, Ora Ray Baker, half-sister of Perry Baker, 1often credited with introducing yoga into America. On her father’s side, she was the great-great-great granddaughter of Tipu Sultan, the celebrated Muslim ruler of Mysore, who in the 18th Century successfully fought the British, stemming their advance into South India. He was killed in battle in 1799.

As a child, she and her parents escaped the chaos of revolutionary Moscow in a carriage belonging to Tolstoy’s son. Raised in Paris in a mansion filled with her father’s students and devotees, Khan became a virtuoso of the harp and the veena (a plucked stringed instrument originating in ancient India), dressed in Western clothes, graduated from the Sorbonne and published a book of traditional Indian children’s stories – all before she was 25.

One year later, in May 1940, the Germans occupied Paris. Khan, her mother, and a younger brother and sister fled like millions of others, catching the last boat from Bordeaux to England, where she immediately joined 2the British war effort.

In June, 1941 she was assigned to RAF’s Bomber Training School, but she soon got bored of her desk work there, and anxious to fight at the front applied for a commission for field duty. Thus in late 1942 Khan was recruited into the F (France) Section of the Special Operations Executive (SOE, aka the Baker Street Irregulars), the Spy Agency created by Churchill with the mission to carryout sabotage and subversion behind enemy lines.

After completion of her three months basic SOE training, in early February 1943 she was posted to the Air Ministry, Directorate of Air Intelligence, seconded to First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), 3and sent to various other SOE schools for further training. At the end of these Training Ops she was a secret “Agent in the Field,” though her official cover position was of an Assistant Section Officer seconded in the First Aid Women’s Yeomanry (FANY).

In June, 1943 due to her fluency in both French and English, and her skills in Wireless Communications she was selected to work with the French Resistance as a Radio Operator. Codenamed ‘Madeleine’, with a call sign of ‘Nurse’ and cover identity of Jeanne-Marie Regnier, Noor was parachuted into Nazi occupied northern France during the night of June 16-17, the first woman spy to be sent into occupied France. From here she traveled to Paris with a Resistance member and together with two other SOE radio operators, Diana Rowden and Cecily Lefort joined the Physician Network (codenamed Prosper) led by Francis Suttill, a British Special Agent operating in France since Oct, 1942. She was to become the communication link between Resistance and SOE4 in England at a time when the job of a Radio Operator in Nazi territories.

Her clandestine efforts supported the French Underground as England prepared for the D-Day invasions. Among SOE agents, wireless operators had the most dangerous job of all, because the occupation authorities were skilled at tracking their signals. The average survival time for a Resistance telegrapher in Paris was about six weeks.

But even before her arrival, the Prosper Network had been heavily infiltrated by the Gestapo and over six weeks of her arrival in France almost all the members of the Prosper Network, numbering in hundreds and her fellow SOE spy operators were arrested in Gestapo’s most successful coup against the Resistance in occupied France. It was later revealed that even Henri Dericourt, who received her in northern France was a double agent working for the Gestapo. After these arrests, Noor was advised by London to come back, but she refused as she was the last critical link between France and England, and continued her work behind enemy lines coordinating the airdrop of weapons and agents, and the rescue of downed Allied fliers.

Overnight thus the ‘Eposte-Madeleine’ became the most important link between French Resistance and the Allied Forces, and for a total of three and a half months, Noor carried out this extremely dangerous work. Moving from one hideout to another, 5changing her alias & appearance (dying her hair & changing hairstyles for instance) she managed to escape captivity while maintaining wireless communication with SOE. Noor used a dozen odd apartments scattered around Paris as hideouts during this period, her complete fluency of French helping her pass through checkpoints and escape many other risky situations.

The Gestapo had her full description as well as her code name, but in spite of deploying considerable forces for the specific purpose they could not capture her, and she always managed to keep ahead of the Nazis, constantly carrying her Heavy 15 kg B Mark II Set (B2) Radio Set wherever she went.

She refused to abandon what had become the most important and dangerous post in France, although given the opportunity to return, she refused as she did not wish to leave her French comrades without communications and also hoped to rebuild her group.

In Oct, 1943 she was betrayed for 100,000 French Francs by Renee Garry, the sister of the Lt. Emile Garry, leader of the Prosper Network’s Circuit Noor Inayat Khan was working with, who provided Gestapo with the address of the flat Noor was using at that time.

Jealously played a part in this betrayal, Renee settled for less than the Germans were willing to pay for this critical information. Khan was thus captured in this her flat by the German SD Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst, Intelligence Agency of SS and the Nazi Party), 6and held in their Headquarters in Paris. She had unwisely kept copies of all her secret signals and the Germans were able to use her radio to trick London into sending new agents – straight into the hands of the waiting Gestapo.

During interrogation she fought so fiercely that SD officers became fearful of her, and she was treated as an extremely dangerous prisoner. In spite of rigorous interrogation by the Gestapo lasting a month all the Germans could extract from her was false information, they couldn’t even get her to reveal her real name, leave aside any information on other spy operatives working in France. During this one month she escaped captivity twice but due to bad luck (an ill-timed air raid alert once) she was captured in the vicinity on both occasions.

Noor was taken to Germany in late November, 1943 “for safe custody” and imprisoned in complete secrecy at Pforzheim, southwest Germany in solitary confinement, as a Nacht und Nebel” (“Night and Fog”) prisoner. Classified as “highly dangerous,” she was handcuffed and shackled in chains most of her ten months. In spite of repeated beatings, starvation and torture by her Nazi captors, she refused to reveal any information.

During the night of September 11, 1944 the Gestapo collected Noor Inayat Khan and three other SOE agents from Karlsruhe prison, Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman, and Madeleine Damerment, and drove them to Karlsruhe railway station in time to catch the early train to Munich. From there they caught a local train to7Dachau and late in the evening walked to the infamous Dachau concentration camp arriving at about midnight. Between 8 am and 10 am the next morning, September 13, 1944, the four were removed from their cell, taken to a small courtyard, forced to kneel in pairs before being executed by a single shot to the head. Their bodies were immediately burned in the crematorium.

An anonymous Dutch prisoner, who emerged in 1958, contended that Noor Inayat Khan was cruelly beaten by a high-ranking SS-Obersturmfuehrer Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert before being shot from behind; the beating may have been the actual cause of her death. She may also have been sexually assaulted while in custody. Her last word has been recorded as, “Liberte.” She was only 30-years-old.

8Wilhelm Ruppert was tried for war crimes by the American occupying forces. He was subsequently convicted and executed by hanging on May 29, 1946.

Noor Inyayat Khan’s story is not only about the drama of fighting the Nazis -the brutality of the Gestapo, deception, betrayal and escape -but also about the deep moral imperative that defined this young woman throughout her struggle who was raised with strong principles and believed in religious tolerance and non-violence.

Noor Inyayat Khan became one of the most decorated agents of the British S.O.E. After the war she was posthumously the awarded the George Cross, the highest civilian medal given for bravery and sacrifice in Great Britain. The French awarded her the Croix de Guerre with Gold Star. In 2013, a memorial statue was erected in London’s Gordon Square.

A PBS one-hour docudrama about her life and adventures entitled “Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story” was first aired in September 2014.

Academy Award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren narrates the film, which stars Indian American actress Grace Srinivasan as Khan. A copy of the DVD can be purchased from PBS at:http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=45091586

3
Feb

Captain Bobby Troup US Marine Corps (Served 1941-1946)

View the military service of Singer/Songwriter/Actor:

troup

Captain Bobby Troup

US Marine Corps

(Served 1941-1946)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View his service profile on TogetherWeServed.com at

http://marines.togetherweserved.com/profile/301718
Short Bio: Best remembered as Dr Joe Early on TV’s “Emergency” Troup upon graduating from college in 1941 enlisted in the US Marines, but did not receive orders until January 1942. After completing officer training, he was assigned as one of two dozen white officers to direct recruit training at Montford Point, recruit depot for the first African-American Marines.

1
Feb

ABE3 Marilyn R Richards US Navy (1997-2001)

Read the service reflections of US Navy Sailor:

richardsABE3 Marilyn R Richards

US Navy

(1997-2001)

Shadow Box: http://navy.togetherweserved.com/reflectionprofile/46505

If you served in any branch of the U.S. Military, record your own military service story you can share with your family onTogetherWeServed.com.

WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE MILITARY?

When it came to the last year of high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after graduation. I didn’t feel ready for college and, besides, looking at my older sister getting stressed out with her college classes didn’t appeal to me very much. Also, 1I didn’t want to work at a fast food restaurant just to get on my feet.

I contemplated the military, as my Dad always had said that if we didn’t know what we wanted to do after high school, the military was a great option to do something with your life. A few months before my sister and I graduated, she decided to enlist in the Navy and I thought that was a good idea and I decided to go into the service with her. So, we went to boot camp together.

My Dad made a career in the Air Force serving as a Flight Test Engineer on the C-141 Starlifter. He is a Vietnam Veteran and has been all over the world. My dad’s love for the military influenced my decision to join the military as well. I’m glad I did.

WHAT WAS YOUR SERVICE CAREER PATH?

I enlisted as an un-designated airman and after boot camp, received orders to be Ship’s Company on board the aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), then stationed in Bremerton, Washington. It had recently relocated from Alameda, California to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington State. Truthfully, I was bummed 2to see that Alameda was crossed out on my orders because I was from the San Francisco Bay Area and would have been stationed right at home.

After spending a couple weeks with my Mom for the holiday, I flew out to Washington State to my duty station. I was among the second group of females that had arrived on board when the ship was transitioning from an all-male force to co-ed in January 1998. The first group had arrived four months prior so when I came on board, things were still in transition to accommodate females on board the ship. I was shocked to see this huge 101,300 long ton steel vessel that I was going to live on for the next four years! What a sight to see for a young, 18-year-old girl leaving home for the first time.

Shortly after settling in and serving ninety days in the Galley, I was moved into the V-2 Launch and Recovery Division, first in the Administration office and then into the work center where we handled the Pilot Landing Aid Television and Fresnel Lens Optical System. I spent a lot of time learning the IC rate and fixing headphones. I loved working in that shop. It was the best part of V-2.

However, when the time came to advance to an E-4 as a Third Class Petty Officer, I decided to stay in V-2 as an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Launch and Recovery Technician and ended up moving into the Waist Catapult Work Center, operating and maintaining mechanical and hydraulic launch equipment on the flight deck.

It was very intense, often harsh and no place for weak-minded individuals.

DID YOU PARTICIPATE IN COMBAT OPERATIONS? IF SO, COULD YOU DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE SIGNIFICANT TO YOU?

3It was more so peacetime operations. We were operating under Operation Southern Watch, monitoring and controlling airspace south of the 32nd Parallel in Iraq and Operation Northern Watch, a US European Command Combined Task Force (CTF) charged with enforcing its own no-fly zone above the 36th parallel in Iraq.

We also participated in a four-day bombing campaign on Iraqi targets in support of Operation Desert Fox in response to Iraq’s failure to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions as well as their interference with United Nations Special Commission Inspectors.

FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE CAREER WHAT PARTICULAR MEMORY STANDS OUT?

There is not one memory that I can recall that has made the biggest impact on me. If anything, I would say that serving four years on board a floating city and working in one of the toughest and often overworked areas in the Air Department had the biggest impact 4on me because it made me build up tough skin to handle all the pressures of life. The Navy helped me to look at life from a different perspective than where I was before living a life in uniform. It was a hectic, crazy and challenging roller coaster ride but overall, an experience I am grateful for. I gained knowledge, a variety of training and a level of maturity only the military could mold a then 21-year-old, young woman into.

I had left with a poignant experience that left me with mixed emotions. It was the most trying four years of my life. I met friends that I’ll never forget and I learned the meaning of brotherhood and camaraderie only gained from being in the military. I also left with a bitterness that took me over three years to heal. All in all, my experience left me with a love and appreciation of the Navy life and for V-2.

WERE ANY OF THE MEDALS OR AWARDS YOU RECEIVED FOR VALOR? IF YES, COULD YOU DESCRIBE HOW THIS WAS EARNED?

Well, due to the time in which I served, I did not have the opportunity to receive awards for valor as I was not serving in combat conditions nor had I been in harm’s way.

OF THE MEDALS, AWARDS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES OR DEVICES YOU RECEIVED, WHAT IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?

The most meaningful badge or device to receive would be the Navy Good Conduct Medal. There is a lot of history behind this medal. As one of the oldest medals awarded to active duty members in the Navy, this one means the most due to the honor and privilege of 5being commended for honorable and faithful service. I’m grateful and humbled to be awarded and recognized for creditable, above average professional performance, military behavior, leadership, military appearance and adaptability based on good conduct and faithful service for a three-year period of continuous active service. (Medals of America DD-214 Blog, 2011) .

The military can be such a tough and trying lifestyle and to serve without any disciplinary, non-judicial-related infractions is a challenge in itself. The military can test your will, character and faith and if you’re not grounded in who you are and if you don’t have a strong foundation of a solid up-bringing, you might become susceptible to certain unlawful pressures. I’ve seen it firsthand how many people have made wrong and poor decisions for a fleeting moment of pleasure and it cost them their service and all the time that they put into their enlistment.

WHICH INDIVIDUAL PERSON FROM YOUR SERVICE STANDS OUT AS THE ONE WHO HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?

6The person I would say that had the most positive influence on me through the toughest part of my tour was Chaplain Frazier. Due to working in V-2 and the constant challenge with not having enough qualified personnel and the demand of carrier operations, the pressure and life of living on board a floating city was mentally, physically and spiritually exhausting.

I sought spiritual refreshment and strength through Chaplain Frazier and he helped me to endure the last couple of years by providing prayer, guidance and support. At the time, I was working about twenty-two hours a day out to sea and living off of two hours of sleep a night. The Chapel and the Chaplain’s Office was my place of solitude to find rest and peace.

CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE THAT WAS FUNNY AT THE TIME AND STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?

We were out to sea conducting Cyclic Operations, in which we were in a constant rotating take-off and landing pattern to maximize the flight deck. Each day, cyclic air operations occur for 12 to 14 hours, in 8 to 9 cycles of approximately 20 aircraft. Each cycle takes about an 7hour and forty five minutes, from take-off to landing, with just 10 minutes needed to launch outgoing aircraft and 20 minutes to recover incoming aircraft.

So, needless to say, we were in high ops tempo operations. We were scurrying to prep the Landing Area (where Cat 3 and Cat 4 are located) after launching aircraft. A plane was on the “ball” coming in for a landing and we were “tying” down the cat with steel buttons to keep the arresting wire and other FOD material from getting in-between the insert of the catapult.

In the midst of the adrenaline rush, and my supervisor yelling at us to hurry up, I got up and started running toward the catwalk when I slipped on Cat 3 and fell due to the mixture of steam and grease. The Air Boss noticed the incident while manned up in the Tower calling out the landing. As quickly as I fell, I bounced right back up and got under the deck in time for the aircraft to land without incident. It was a funny moment in-between the adrenaline rush and the push to launch and recover.

WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER THE SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT JOB?

Four days after I was honorably discharged, the events of September 11th unfolded. I wanted to go back into the military but fearing I would be stationed on board an aircraft carrier once again, I decided to enlist in the Air Force. So, I crossed branches and served for a 8few years before getting out.

Then, I landed a job as a contractor at Edwards Air Force Base working in the CV-22 Osprey Integrated Test Team program for a couple of years as a Flight Operations Scheduler.

Then the CV-22 program ended, I was unemployed for a while, until I landed a scheduling job for the Predator UAV working for General Atomics Aeronautical. I worked there for a couple of years assisting with DCMA Flight Authorization approvals, student pilot training, and working for the Aviation Safety Official until I recently landed a job as a DOD civilian back at the base.

Now, I work as a secretary at the Air Force Research Laboratory. I have always wanted to stay along the paths of the military community and I thank God for the opportunity to venture in all types of areas as a military member, contractor and now a civilian.

WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?

9I joined the Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Association in 2009; however, I haven’t had the chance to invest the time and resources in staying active due to a busy and hectic lifestyle working two jobs and going to school, pursuing a BA in Organizational Management at Ashford University.

HOW HAS MILITARY SERVICE INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND CAREER?

10Serving my country is part of a proud, family heritage and it has made me a stronger and better person. I have learned to live a disciplined lifestyle and have learned to appreciate what it really means to live a sacrificial life in devotion to God, country, and fellow American citizens. Through the military, I have developed interpersonal and leadership skills and training. I have gained an understanding of politics and life and I understand what it means to have to be deployed away from home and family as well as everything that is American. I have learned to appreciate our American way of life and all of its freedoms and luxuries. I have such love, respect and appreciation for all we sacrifice and go through living the uniformed life.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR THOSE THAT ARE STILL SERVING?

11Appreciate every moment, whether good or bad. Keep your chin up through the bad and the ugly and never lose faith that what you’re doing doesn’t count for something. Learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them.

Take advantage of everything the military offers. Cherish the friendships you make. Cherish every aspect of life in uniform because you only experience things once-in-a-lifetime. Don’t take wearing your uniform for granted. What you go through is not just so you can be shaped into a better person but it is also for someone else. Wear that uniform with appreciation and be a model for someone else to model after.

One day, you’ll look back and see how much you’ve endured and you’ll see who the person you have become today as a result. You are important. You are a member of one whole body fitly joined together so that every joint may supply.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU MAINTAIN A BOND WITH YOUR SERVICE AND THOSE YOU SERVED WITH?

12TogetherWeServed.com has helped maintain a bond with the service and those I have served with by providing a community to connect to other members outside of a military locator. Prior to social networks, if you were not active duty, there wasn’t much of a chance to locate someone without having to look at a Global Address List or locate someone through a contact that is still actively serving.

Through TogetherWeServed.com, I can maintain contact with former comrades and yet meet new people as well. I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting such fine fellow service members who I have never served with and yet am so glad to know. It is an excellent place to connect.

I hope that my contribution will help other women as well. It’s time that we share our stories and make our voices heard as women who are and have served in the military!

 

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